The Names Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. In the beginning of Chapter 10, David Keller cannot understand why he misses what?

2. To what does Volterra attribute the cult killings at the end of Chapter 8?

3. What does Orville Benton do in the final moments of the novel?

4. Based on the revelations of the novel, who most likely tried to shoot James?

5. Who is the character of Orville Benton based on?

Short Essay Questions

1. In Chapter 8, what does James see in Mani that shakes him up?

2. What suspicions does James have about Eliades in Chapter 13?

3. How does Owen experience the murder in Chapter 12?

4. What is different about Chapter 14 from the rest of the novel?

5. What unfortunate occurrence happens to David Keller in Chapter 13?

6. What does James Axton learn in Bombay early in Chapter 11?

7. How has Rowser become more paranoid in Chapter 11?

8. What information does Andahl give about the cult in Chapter 9?

9. In Chapter 12, why does Owen go to Lake Rajsamand?

10. According to Rowser in Chapter 11, what changes are happening in the Northeast Group.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In The Names, Don DeLillo has created a central mystery - the mystery of the cult - in which clues and revelations are annoyingly amorphous and cannot necessarily be trusted. Write an essay about the subjectivity of truth in the novel, focusing on three pieces of information that James Axton gleans in his investigation. Where does this information come from? What is James's attitude towards it? Does he think that it is ultimately trustworthy?

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay about the Language Cult and how it becomes a symbol in the novel. To what extent does the language cult exist outside of time and place? In what ways is it stateless and oddly innocent? In discussing the otherworldliness of the cult, determine what it represents to the people who search it out. What do these lost Americans long to find at the end of the search for the cult? To what extent does the cult represent a pre-American world?

Essay Topic 3

The Names takes place in a place and time in which new and unknown dangers are emerging for expat Americans. The novel finds clever and unnerving ways to illustrate these dangers. Write an essay in three parts dealing with the way DeLillo illustrates danger and fear in the novel:

Part 1) Discuss the new international reality that is emerging for Americans in the early 1980's. What is the state of the Cold War at this time? What events have illustrated the new danger posed by religious extremism? To what extent is James Axton's profession the quintessential creation of American expat culture in this time?

Part 2) James Axton is clearly a character what sits at the tip of the spear for international danger. What dangers exist for him throughout the novel? Discuss ambiguous characters, messages, and events that strike him as dangerous? What violent moment serves as the culmination of this nascent danger, and who does James think is responsible for it?

Part 3) Discuss the subterranean actions that place James Axton's life in danger throughout the novel. How has James been an unwitting pawn of the intelligence community? What was hunting him throughout the novel? How does he discover the true nature of his work?

(see the answer keys)

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